Dominguez Hills

Measuring the College Classroom Impact of Cell Phone Use




Multitasking is a part of everyday life. But studies show that texting, social networking, and using other forms of communication via smartphones interfere with college students' classroom learning.

Very little is known about the level of digital device metacognition among university students. A study conducted by undergraduate student Abraham Ruiz attempted to define and measure digital metacognition with respect to smartphone usage in the classroom.

Under the mentorship of psychology professor Mark Carrier, Ruiz’s study found that the students who used their smartphone during class lectures believed they were still able to pay attention. When asked whether they found any benefit to using their phone in class the students didn’t believe there were benefits, and they mostly felt they used their devices wisely.

The conclusion? Ruiz’s study found that students didn’t think there was any negative impact on their learning as a result of using their phone during class.

Ruiz became interested in critical thinking while taking a course with Dr. Carrier, later joining his research laboratory. While working on the Digital Metacognition project, Ruiz presented his results at the first International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam. His research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Ruiz has now begun a doctorate program in applied developmental psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.